Volume 32, Number 1

The Republican Party Has Ceased to Exist Other Than as a White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi Front

Fred Schepartz

From the previous issue's editorial:

It is three weeks to the day that the presidential election was called for Joe Biden. Right now, it appears he will become president on January 20, 2021. I would be remiss in not acknowledging that there is who knows what skullfuckery that could happen between now and then, but I have to be pretty certain that the Reign of Error will be ending in less than one month.

We know exactly who Giant Baby Man is. We know exactly what his enablers are like. These are not secrets.

Thus, I felt compelled to invent a word to describe the insanity that might precede the Inauguration on January 20, 2021.

That said, even a made-up word is inadequate.

Here’s a brief recap.

A constant repeating of the Big Lie, that a fair election was stolen by the Democrats. And it is worth noting, that the use of the term “Big Lie” is a very apt reference to Joseph Goebbels.

Recounts in several states, none of which led to any significant vote swings.

Somewhere around 60 lawsuits, almost all frivolous, many containing gross inaccuracies and even misspellings in the court filings. And of all these lawsuits, GBM’s campaign won only one decision, which was on a minor procedural point. It is also worth noting that many of the attorneys involved in these suits face sanctions for misconduct.

The never-ending shitshow that was Rudy Ghouliani.

GBM pressuring state legislatures, state election commissions and even the Georgia Secretary of State.

And then, of course, the events leading up to the attempted putsch on January 6, 2021: Senators like “Cancun” Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley stating that they will contest the Electors; GBM very publicly pressuring Mike Pence to do the “right thing” and refuse to accept the Democratic Party Electors, something he had no power to do; GBM calling for his base supporters to gather in Washington, D.C.; and then of course the rally when GBM and others clearly incited the crowd to violently storm the Capitol.

The world was shocked.

And for good reason.

It was shocking to see the Capitol stormed with force and violence that overwhelmed a police force that should have been better prepared and supported. It was shocking to see American citizens attacking fellow citizens with murderous fury. And it was shocking to realize that the ultimate failure of this attempting insurrection was somewhat miraculous. It still chills me to think what they would have done to Pence or Nancy Pelosi or Mitt Romney or AOC or any other member of Congress.

And furthermore, it was shocking, but not necessarily surprising to see who the rioters were. Sure, there was the ordinary folk who swallowed the Big Lie. But let us not allow that fact to blind us to the truth that groups such as the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers played significant roles.

GBM told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” and that’s exactly what they did.

These are White Supremacist groups, pure and simple. These are groups that advocate the violent overthrow of the United States government. And these are groups that were emboldened and normalized by the GBM presidency.

The imagery that we all saw on our televisions was stark and alarming. Confederate flags being waved inside the Capitol. White men proudly wearing clothing with Nazi slogans and images. And just this week we saw the woman charged with stealing Pelosi’s laptop computer with the intention of selling it to Russian intelligence in a video where she flashes the Heil Hitler salute.

And there is the obvious proposition: if the assembled crowd had not been a bunch of white guys, but rather a large, Black Lives Matter protest, the police response would have been different.

And speaking of institutions, it is telling that military and police, retired and active, were significantly represented in the crowd of rioters.

Fortunately, Congress was able to return to work later in the day and complete their ceremonial duty of certifying the Electors to proclaim that Joe Biden did in fact win the election.

A reasonable person might’ve thought that this violence in their chamber, potentially against their person, would have resulted in a bit of a come-to-Jesus moment.

Not so fast, my friend.

Yes, Lindsay Graham expressed shock, but it didn’t take long for this lapdog to go crawling back to GBM’s lap. Sure, Mitch McConnell denounced the violence and even denounced GBM. Until this week, when he said he would support GBM if he won the 2024 nomination.

And on that day, Cruz and Hawley didn’t change their tune one bit. In the end, six senators and 121 House members voted against certifying the electors.

How can a reasonable person believe that such actions do anything other than condone the violence on January 6 and encourage violence in the future? One would be a fool to believe that we won’t see more of this kind of violence. This week, the acting chief of the Capitol Police testified before Congress that they have received credible intelligence about future violence, for instance at the next State of the Union Address.

Of course, the Republicans don’t see it that way. After all, when in doubt, double down!

Most continue spouting the Big Lie. This month we’ve seen hideous voter suppression bills introduced in several states, including right here in Wisconsin. This rhetoric has been in full and nauseating display at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where, by the way, the stage appears to be shaped like a modified swastika, the same pattern that was actually used as an insignia on some Nazi military divisions.

As I wrote last issue, GBM has converted the Republican Party into a party of the lunatic fringe. It is nothing more than a cult of personality, devoid of any scruples or principles. Reasonable conservatives like Mary Cheney and Mitt Romney are ostracized, as is anyone who dares challenge GBM’s authority.

And they are supporting, aiding and abetting White Supremacists and Neo Nazis, sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly. After all, these people are GBM’s base, and thus, these people must not be allowed to be offended.

Colorado Congressperson Lauren Boebert, for instance, Tweeted information about Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts during the riot. She also Tweeted “1776,” a clear encouragement for the rioters. Other members of Congress allegedly gave tours of the Capitol to groups who the next day participated in the attempted insurrection.

Far-right extremists have pretty much taken over the Michigan Republican Party, which traditionally has tended to be more moderate. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey claimed the riot was a “hoax.” Newly elected Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddock is a staunch backer of the Big Lie who not only chartered 19 buses to Washington, D.C., for the riot but also participated in the armed protest at the statehouse in Lansing last April. And let us not forget that Michigan has a very active right-wing militia movement, which included members of the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Wittmer.

Josh Hawley has taken to bloviating about standing up for the “will of the people,” which I guess has to mostly mean the will of white people who didn’t vote for the Democrats. Ron Johnson, our idiot senator from here in Wisconsin, continues to claim that January 6 was not actually an armed insurrection and that Antifa and the police were the actual provokers. CPAC has featured numerous citing of Democrats as Marxists and Socialists and Communists.

If you have an angry, violent mob, the results will be predictable if you continue to demonize the opposition.

Thus, a refusal to denounce these people, a refusal to denounce violence, is clearly a granting of implicit support.

But when I really think about it, am I surprised that a large number of people from one of this country’s mainstream political parties supports White Supremacists and Neo Nazis?

Shocked, yes. Surprised, no.

As a white man, admittedly from a privileged background, I understand that I may not always see White Supremacists. Sure, if it’s some yayhoo with a Confederate flag flying on their pick-up truck, well, that’s easy. Some asshole wearing a Nazi sweatshirt, yeah.

But the fiscal conservative and social conservative, not so easy. That is until they say nothing about the Big Lie or the storming of the Capitol. That is until they make claims about voter fraud in Milwaukee or Atlanta or Philadelphia or Detroit. That is until they introduce a bill prohibiting early voting on Sundays.

A person’s words can lie, but not their actions.

The fact of the matter is that White Supremacy is in our DNA. It is a sad aspect of our history as a nation, and it is a tragic flaw of our national character. The implicit and explicit embracing of this poison speaks volumes about who and what we’re dealing with. It tells us that violent racism is on the rise and that democracy is in peril. It also tells us that violent racism has always been with us and that our democracy has always been in peril.

Those on the right need to understand that they’re playing with fire. There may be some who haven’t swallowed the whole thing, who maybe think these are useful idiots that they can control.

Such thinking is foolhardy and dangerous. Getting along to get along will not end well and could drag us all down to a dark and horrifying place.

As I wrote in the last issue, democracy is about believing in something greater than one’s self. I believe that ideals still mean something. I often write that in the aggregate, we are moving forward as a society. Our very recent history lays bare the threat and ubiquitousness of White Supremacy. Let us hope we take this lesson to heart.